As a metaphor for life in community, quilting is a pretty good one. All of the people who live, and all of the people who work, in LSC’s senior residential communities bring their own personalities, histories, pasts, and futures into the shared spaces.
During the last several months, while living with the new guidelines and expectations brought on by COVID-19, our Trinity Elms assisted living neighbors have been making “quilts.” Each one brightens the halls and brings pleasure and recognition to the artists. It started with a simple idea, one that could be completed with one neighbor at a time while maintaining distancing guidelines.
Each neighbor was offered a cardboard box lid containing a sheet of construction paper and four miniature pool-table balls. After squirting a few colors of acrylic paint onto the paper, the neighbor tilted the box lid back and forth to spread the color around all over the paper.
Here’s the twist: each sheet of paper had four random numbers on the back, one in each corner. Only after the paint dried did members of the life enrichment staff cut each paper into four squares and lay the quilt out by the numbers. No one was quite certain whose square was whose, but everyone remarked on how beautiful it was and how fun it had been to make.
Together, we make something bright, colorful, and lovely, creating a whole larger and more special than the individual parts. At the same time, each quilt square retains its own unique appeal, letting each one shine forth as recognizably an illustration of the one who made it.
A poem by Ann M. Johnson, first printed in an edition of Senior Review, says it best:
We all have a story to tell.
We can stand alone or become part of a bigger picture together.
We come in different shapes and sizes.
We are all part of a kaleidoscope of colors like individual gems.
We are unique but can band together and become part of a masterpiece.
Some of us maybe smoother than others.
Some of us maybe a little bit jaded.
Some of us may have more lines than others,
While some of us are shapelier than others.
We can choose to shine alone or shine together like precious gems to become a masterpiece of stained glass if we join together and let the light shine through.
Let your light shine.
Article written by Rev. Beth M. Woodard
Beth Woodard is the campus chaplain for Trinity Elms, a senior residential community in Clemmons, NC. A 2008 graduate of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, she lives in western High Point with her family, miniature dachshunds, and grand-cat.